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Pac-12 Primer: Q&A with Jon Woods on Colorado's new developments.

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Jon Woods of SBNation's 'The Ralphie Report' was kind enough to answer a few questions about Colorado. With the termination of their head coach, and the release of next season's schedule, I was wondering how the Buff fans felt about the football team moving on.  I have to say, they are in a good position to land a top assistant to rebuild the football program.  Firing Hawkins now will actually speed up the process, and convince some low to mid level recruits to take a second look at Colorado.  My original assessment was for Colorado to take seven or more years to get up to par in the Pac-12, but now I'm thinking the Buffaloes could be dangerous in as little as three.  Much rests on who ultimately takes over as head coach, and whether or not rumors of increased booster funding are true, but things are definitely looking brighter moving forward.  Colorado's 2011 schedule is at the end of the story, enjoy.
1. Colorado's inter-division schedule looks to be a 50-50 split, with two tough games, and two winnable games. (Relatively speaking.)  Based on the schedule presented here, what is your expectation for next season?  How many wins?  Bowl game?
JW-  Now that Hawkins has been let go I think you will see a really wide range of predictions for next season. Especially since we don't yet know who is going to be coaching next season. There is a lot of talent on this team and I think a combination of some pretty bad coaching and two heartbreaking home losses in a row (Baylor and Texas Tech) really sapped a lot of the spirit out of the guys. I expect we will see a pretty impressive performance this weekend against Iowa State. That being said, CU's schedule next year is BRUTAL, so projecting the Buffs to make a bowl game is probably reaching.
2.  There has been a lot of talk about Utah and Colorado potentially being rivals.  While they certainly have been designated regional rivals by the Pac-12, I was wondering what you thought the chances were of a Colorado rivalry with Arizona State?  Hear me out.  'Regionally' a rivalry with Arizona or Arizona St. makes sense. 
So why Arizona St. over Arizona?  The Sun Devils are on a downward spiral to the bottom of the Pac-10(12), and this game will be a winnable one each year.  This will be a good back and forth as Colorado rebuilds its program, and will be a good measuring stick game each season. So what do you say?
JW-  As a huge fan of the Wildcats, I, by proxy hate the Sun Devils and will do everything I can to spread the hate amongst Buff fans. I think Utah will definitely rise to the top of the "rivalry' games in the division, but I honestly think that the rivalries will be pretty strong amongst all the schools in the South since we will be playing them every single weekend.
3.  What conference game are you most excited for?
JW-  I can't even pick one this next season. I am really, really pumped for all of them to be honest. It's going to be a great first couple of seasons. I'm very excited to see how the home crowds turn out for the Pac-12 games. Will attendance be very strong because of the novelty of the new conference? Will we see a lot of visiting fans? I'm trying to decide whether I want to go to UW or Stanford and it's not an easy decision.
4.  How do you feel about  your coach being fired?  Who are the leading candidates at this time to take over?  (If all you have is rumors, that's fine.  We'll take what we can get.)
JW-  We are ready to move on, that's for sure. With Hawkins, it wasn't a matter of if, but when. It became clear that he wasn't going to be able to get it done in Boulder and I don't think any Buff fans wanted to move to a new conference with Dan still in charge. As it's still early, we are hearing a lot of different names, but these are the ones that I think are at least mildly realistic (in no specific order):
Troy Calhoun
Gus Malzahn
Jim McElwain
Brent Venables
Mark Stoops
Kevin Sumlin
Dana Holgorsen
Brady Hoke
5.  I have decided to travel to Boulder for the Arizona @ Colorado game next season.  What food do I need to be sure to try while I'm up there?  Also, I hear that you have this stuff called 'snow' up there.  Should I be concerned?
JW-  I imagine that we will need to create a "what to do in Boulder" post for all of the visiting fans next year so we will make sure and revisit this one closer to game time. As for the weather, I can't wait to see you guys head up here in November. Tomorrow is the 11th (next year's game is on the 12th) and the high is 35 degrees with an expected 2-4 inches of snow in Denver. Invest in some jackets...
2011 Colorado Schedule
Sep. 3 - @ Hawaii
Sep. 10 - T.B.A. (To Be Announced, Colorado granted 13th game as a result of scheduling a game at Hawaii.)
Sep. 17 - Colorado State
Sep. 24 - @ Ohio State
Oct. 1 - Washington State
Oct. 8 - @ Stanford
Oct. 15 - @ Washington
Oct. 22 - Oregon
Oct. 29 - @ Arizona State
Nov. 5 - USC
Nov. 12 - Arizona
Nov. 19 - @ UCLA
Nov. 26 - @ Utah
Dec. 3 - Pac-12 Championship Game